Volunteer and shop local for a healthy community

as the Mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

Last week I attended the presentation ceremony for the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals that was hosted by Senator Nancy Greene Raine and MP Cathy McLeod at the Thompson Rivers University campus. There were seven recipients from our local area. They were Jill Hayward, Geordie and Manne Salle, Tina Donald, Dr. Nathan Matthew, Carman Smith and Keith Moore. All seven recipients attended the event with their friends and family.

The presentation of these medals is fitting testament to the long standing and ongoing efforts of these individuals to give back to their community. It would be impossible to quantify in any sort of manner the value their efforts have provided to the betterment of where we all live. Their selfless contributions are an example to us all.

Just prior to the presentation one of the four cakes made for the reception disappeared into thin air, or more likely a dorm room. In my days of schooling things like a statue or Volkswagen disappeared temporarily to be found later in odd places like hanging from a bridge. Taking a cake seems more practical though as you can at least eat it. Maybe times are changing for the better after all. The very act of doing something significantly trivial as taking a presentation cake seems to belay the ever present feeling of apathy that can be felt in some communities.

In the past there were always people to help. There were always groups of people enthused about things that had to be done. Associations, clubs and societies all had good sized memberships that shared the workload. It was easy to organize a ball tournament, art show or a Fall Fair with many hands to help. Now the same core group that always organized these events is still there but the many hands seem to be missing.

The people that study these things say it is the economy. People have no spare time. Both parents work and mortgages trump the giving of time or money to community activities. If this is true how does this relate to Barriere and more importantly how can the problems be fixed?

The reality is that everyone needs to have some sort of income to survive.  How much of an income is determined by lifestyle.

High paying out-of-town jobs can have a purpose, and if a defined plan is made to use those jobs to gain experience, help pay off short term debt, or build a nest egg to start a business, then they can be very useful for individuals.

As a society we need to plan for the long term and for the future of our families and our community as a whole. We need to build stable and safe environments that will attract new residents.

There are very simple things that can be done to guarantee the sustainability of our area. Things like trying to do as much shopping locally as you can. Check out the local stores and suppliers before driving to Kamloops for your allergy pills or tomatoes. Drop into the local lumber yard and ask for a quote on materials and maybe a recommendation on a craftsperson to do the work. Stop by the local art gallery to look for that unique gift. Buy gas before leaving town and have your vehicle serviced locally.

We all know this sort of thing in the back of our minds and it may sound trivial to be mentioning it but the fact is that if the local economy can show an increase of as little as a six per cent increase in sales, the local merchants can afford to expand and provide bigger and better services. More people will move here,  and other merchants offering other services and goods will set up shop here in Barriere.

The usual events around the holiday season are currently being planned. Things like decorating of the downtown core and organizing a parade all need volunteers. If anyone can help with these events please contact the District office or the Chamber of Commerce.

There will be a by-election for the position of the Thompson Nicola Regional District Director of Area ‘O’.  The election will take place on Nov. 17, 2012. I urge all eligible voters to come out and vote.